Labor Shortage Dutch Style

by bicyclemark 2 Comments

On line at the grocery store, I read the big sign in the window: Seeking new colleagues to join our team.? Around the block at the caf? there’s a small paper in the window that reads: seeking wait staff.? The restaurant next door is full to the brim with customers everyday and employs only 2 servers and 1 cook, the entire staff looks overwhelmed.

No matter where I look in the service industry, the Netherlands seems to be lacking workers. Yet at the same time, I can think of many university students who would never take such jobs.? I’m also reminded of my fellow university graduates who are seeking work in the field of their studies and would not take up work in a restaurant or a grocery store.

All this to make the un-scientific observation that there could be some type of labor shortage in this part of Europe. And it is getting worse.

Meanwhile I read about the situation of detained refugees in Belgium, who are currently on hunger strike.? Belgium’s politics and economic reality is certainly not identical to the Netherlands, but I still think it says something about where this entire region is within the discussion of the right to work and immigration policy. For the neverending obsession with keeping people out, I’m wondering who they’re going to turn to when no one in the country will take essential jobs.

Some Nations Plan

by bicyclemark 3 Comments

While my specialty is critical thinking, especially when it comes to global issues; sometimes nations do things that I both agree with and am impressed by.

The Netherlands is working on something I believe is very logical and necessary — planning how to manage rising sea levels and global warming in the coming 100 years. They’ve planned in the past (1950’s) to manage the sea and their bodies of water in such a way that people are safe and can also enjoy the fruits of their water.? But as has become very apparent, the plans made 50 years ago are insufficient when you consider what we know now about the increasing speed that these changes take place. So instead of waiting for a major disaster, they’re devising a plan and dedicating big money to preparing NOW.

For the real details I recommend mr. Amsterdamize himself, who does a good job of laying out, in understandable terms, what the government is doing so far and what the ultimate outcome will be. Like myself, I think Marc finds it a strange contrast, going from watching the news about the gulf coast of the US scrambling to get out of the way of storms to reading about the Dutch government, planning for any storms or water disasters in the next 100 years.

Economies and Plants

by bicyclemark 1 Comment

During my lunch break on Myesonday I made my way over to a plant store near Olympic Stadium, here in Amsterdam.  Usually working past the time places stay open, I thought it best to buy my spring plants during my work day, plus I’d seen this shop several times since starting my new job, seemed like a good place.

I choose my spring flowers and bring them inside to pay the extremely tall, grey haired gentleman with the glasses. As I pay him I look down at the pansies and ask (in Dutch), I’m from the New York area, where normally pansies don’t make it once the weather gets warm; I’ve always wondered, does that work the same way here, or do they last longer since its slightly cooler weather here?

The man looks down at the little plants and begins to explain using alot of hand motions: We’re on a very similar level compared to New York, on the globe relatively speaking.  So the same, technically, applies, you only get flowers for a few months and its over.

From there the man seemed to jump into a larger conversation:

It is all related. Plants in the US, plants in the Netherlands. Mortgage crisis in the US, mortgage crisis here.  Whatever happens, his tone gets louder, in the US, we will always feel the effects here. Then he looks at the ground, although, I think we’re better equipped to survive the crisis, as people don’t use credit to but things the way they do over there. But mortgages, oh the mortgages, these prices in this country have been out of control for too long, it had to stop. Again he returned to his earlier statement, I think we can survive it, we are a small country and people can be very smart about not borrowing and not getting into debt schemes, I hope we survive it with minimal damage.  But again, it is all relative. Pansies, economic crisis….. US, Netherlands.

Have a nice day and good luck with the planting, he waved to me as I stepped out of the shop.